Ag Weighs In As Lawmakers Haggle Over NAFTA, SNAP, Trump budget
Now that U.S. efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement are ramping up, lawmakers are asking President Trump to focus on what they call Canada’s increasingly protectionist dairy policies.
A bipartisan group of 68 House members signed a letter to the president, insisting that a priority in NAFTA negotiations should be demanding that Canada do away with a pricing policy blocking some U.S. exports.
A separate letter from five Democratic senators urged newly sworn Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to help U.S. dairy farmers.
Republican demands for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, slowed consideration of the 2014 farm bill, and will likely resurface when the House writes a new bill in coming months.
But if Republicans try to go too far, the top Democrat on the House Ag Committee says they’ll drive away Democratic votes and cause problems for the bill in the Senate as well.
Minnesota’s Collin Peterson says things should be fine as long as nobody fools around with SNAP.
A congressional agreement to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2017 largely rejects President Trump’s proposed cuts in food aid, research and other Ag programs, but the deal opened a bitter, partisan rift over farm bill policy by leaving out assistance sought by cotton and dairy producers.
Negotiations over the cotton and dairy provisions appeared to have died in the final days amid a disagreement over the scope of the assistance.